* Antisoma plc, of London, received approval from the U.K. Medicines Control Agency to start pivotal Phase III trials of Theragyn for the treatment of ovarian cancer. This follows approvals from the FDA and elsewhere in Europe for the same Phase III program. Theragyn, licensed from the London-based Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), is a murine monoclonal antibody directed against polymorphic epithelial mucin, a protein produced in an abnormal form by more than 90 percent of ovarian cancers of epithelial origin. The antibody is used to deliver the radioisotope yttrium-90 to destroy the tumor. In Phase II studies sponsored by ICRF, Theragyn significantly improved five-year survival compared with the best standard therapy.
* Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, Netherlands, completed its initial public offering of 4.1 million new ordinary shares on Easdaq, the Pan-European exchange. The offering was priced at NLG30 (US$15) per share. Trading began July 2. The IPO has raised $61.5 million for further development of the company's product candidates and extension of its facilities for the separation and purification of human proteins expressed in the milk of transgenic animals. Pharming's lead product, human alpha-glucosidase, for the treatment of the muscle wasting disease Pompe's disease, is in Phase I trials and has orphan drug status in the U.S.